Rain gutters come in many different and diverse forms, shapes and materials. There are enough reasons for that – financial status of the owners, their desires regarding home styling, expected longevity, expected maintenance required and, of course, climate conditions. Here in this article we will discuss the last factor. It turns out that there is a strong dependence between where you life and what guttering system you are planning to install. Since there are 13 types of climates according to the worldwide climate classification a needed simplification would be made here in order to facilitate the readers: we will split the climates in 3 main different ones – cold, medium and hot, which would reflect winter, autumn and summer, respectively, in a Eastern European country. They have it all there.
1. If You Live in a Mainly Cold Climate
The obstacles to consider:
Ice. Dams. Ice dams, regarding the rain gutter terminology, are trapped frozen water in your gutters. Just a little water is not an issue, but if you have your gutters clogged the water that has become stagnant inside might be enough to form huge ice formations. Other reasons are constantly melting snow from your roof entering the gutters and building up there as ice during the cold nights. Both lead to many costly issues. First off when the ice starts melting from the inside of your gutters the water will easily end up in your attic and from there the issues start counting. Ice could also make a clogging worse if a downspout is in question. Here comes some exciting physics fact which might not make you as excited about your gutters – when water freezes it expands its volume. This particular outcome can either – loosen brackets , dislocate the gutters and even uncouple joints if the build up is too heavy. All things that you don’t want to deal with in the middle of a cold day.
Do not use vinyl ones that’s for sure but there is not really any solution to this. Aluminium stand out as a best ones for this scenario but gutters might not even be needed here. For some the answer lies in heaters, but this, as practice has shown, is debatable since escaping heat is exactly what causes the issue in the first place and spending money on it might not be a good idea. Best advice is to choose a metal roofing for its ability to shed snow, but be careful – this would mean you will find your home surrounded by mountains of it during a heaving snowfall. Metal roofs are also very durable and leaks are a rarity.
2. If You Live in a Mainly Medium Climate
The obstacle to consider:
This is where the weather conditions are relatively normal throughout the year and from time to time you’d have a lighter case of the hot and cold climate. You need something to withstand that all and there are a couple of options for you here.
You can choose from vinyl, aluminium and steel gutters, depending on your budget. That’s the only factor that should determine your final gutter of choice.
- Vinyl ones are quite cheap, they are rust tolerant and very easy to install. On the other hand they tend to fail if extreme weather occurs so if you live in a place with a rather hot summer or chilly winter take this under consideration. The aesthetics here are not considered, but keep in mind that plastic gutters will eventually lose colour. They prone to changing volume depending on temperatures which might cause issues.
- Aluminium ones provide you with more weather-resistance than their vinyl cousins. The discolour less with time as well. Still a cost efficient, decision but they do require maintenance over time. Bear in mind leaks are a possibility because of the nature of the material(it’s not as elastic as plastic for example and it’s not as hardy as steel, so all kinds of deformations caused by debris and clogging might occur).
- Steel gutters – galvanised metal and stainless steel. The first ones will be a good choice if you live in a place that actually experiences extreme weather conditions from time to time(not throughout the year). They won’t bend by branches and debris, they won’t expand or shrink as much regarding temperatures, they won’t (most probably) spring a leak. They will however rust over time. A good maintenance will allow you to prolong the time before that happens but it will be inevitable.
3. If you live in a mainly hot climate
The obstacles to consider:
Main problem with heat is that is will make almost anything change volume. Heated(respectively bent) train rails have been an issue since trains exist. Said expansion might cause your gutters to move out of place, leaks in joints and whatnot. What will save you now?
Unfortunately it will come pricey. Stainless steel gutters are the strongest in almost all parameters when it comes to gutters. They support all kinds of extreme weather, they don’t get rust, do not bend easily, stay in place, leaks emerging will be with the same frequency as the the appearance of Halley’s comet if good maintenance is applied. If you can deal with the industrial look these might be your gutters! Now, you might think stainless steel rain gutters are the top of the notch choice. Truth is there is one type of gutters that will come as the most expensive ones(for a reason). Copper rain gutters are virtually everlasting and have the most exquisite appearance. They possess all the qualities a successful guttering system would ever need.